Audiology

The Audiology Center at The GW Medical Faculty Associates is dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for patients with hearing loss and balance disorders by providing complete audiological assessment and rehabilitation services. Our Center offers comprehensive hearing tests for adults, hearing aid evaluations and programming, cochlear implant evaluations and mapping, diagnostic specialty testing such as VNG, ABR, ECOG and VEMP.

Hearing Aid Services

The Audiology Center offers hearing aid consultations, fittings and general maintenance for Oticon, Phonak and Earlens hearing aids. After a patient has a hearing test (must be within six months) and is diagnosed with hearing loss, he/she may schedule a hearing aid consultation. During a hearing aid consultation, an audiologist will discuss the hearing aid manufacturers and their products, the different styles of hearing aids, the levels of technology, and the price points.

After choosing the hearing aids, the patient will return for the hearing aid fitting appointment, typically about two weeks after the consultation. At the fitting appointment, the hearing aids are programmed to the patient’s most recent hearing test. The audiologist will run verification measures to ensure the hearing aids are programmed appropriately and fine tune the hearing aids based on the patient’s feedback. Once the programming is complete, the audiologist will review how to use the hearing aids and general care/maintenance. From here, the patient will return for a two week follow up appointment. All hearing aids can be returned or exchanged within a 30-day trial period.

Patient Resources

Oticon Connectivity Help Line: 855-400-9766
Phonak Connectivity Help Line: 1-800-679-4871

Hearing Protection

Customized Earplugs & Ear Molds

Hearing loss due to loud noise exposure is preventable. The Audiology Center provides a variety of custom-made hearing protection. Basic earplugs provide protection against noise induced hearing loss. Musician earplugs provide protection against noise induced hearing loss, by attenuating sound while preserving the frequency characteristics unique to music. Custom ear molds for personal communication devices such as iPods and cell phones are also available.

Tinnitus Services

Diagnosis & Treatment in Washington DC

Tinnitus is referred to as a constant ringing in the ears that is perceived by to the person affected. It can present as crickets, humming, clicking or roaring, and can vary in loudness and pitch. Tinnitus can be constant or have a short duration. While certain factors can trigger tinnitus, the physical cause of tinnitus is unknown. There are many ways to manage tinnitus such as counseling and behavior therapy, hearing aids and sound generators.

If a patient is experiencing tinnitus, a good first step would be to obtain a hearing evaluation. After a baseline audiogram is obtained, your audiologist will be able to recommend the appropriate next steps for the management of your tinnitus.

Balance Testing

Let’s Find the Cause of Your Dizzy Spells

Diagnosing dizziness is often a process that will usually begin with a hearing test. Hearing tests are ordered for patients who report dizziness because the balance system is found in the inner ear. The hearing test allows a look into how a patient’s ears are functioning. The Audiology Center is able to perform several types of tests for dizziness. These tests are ordered by a referring physician, most commonly an otolaryngologist, also referred to as an Ear nose & throat doctor. The tests that the physician orders is determined by the type of dizziness symptoms a patient is reporting.

Tests of the balance system include:

  • Video nystagmography (VNG)
  • Electrocochleography (ECOG)
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP)
  • Repositioning maneuvers are also performed to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

These tests require that the patient follow specific “Pre-test” instructions up to 48 hours before the test date. Patients are given these instructions when they schedule their appointment. It is the patient’s responsibility of read and follow all of the pre-test instructions.

Pre-test Instructions Guide

Implantable Devices

Osseointegrated Bone Conduction Devices

What is this device?

The osseointegrated bone conduction device is an FDA approved device that consists of two main parts: a piece which is implanted by the surgeon and an outside piece called a processor which is programmed by your audiologist to your hearing thresholds. The two pieces together work to pick-up sound and speech around you and transmits this via bone conduction directly to your best functioning cochlea. Depending on the manufacturer who assembles this device, this device may also be referred to as a “BAHA” or “Ponto”.

Who qualifies for this device?

  • Patients with single sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss.
  • Patients with conductive hearing loss or mixed hearing loss.

How do I know if qualify for this device?

An audiogram (maximum 6 months old), is required in order to be considered for a consultation. If you need an updated audiogram, please arrange that this be done by your audiologist or one of our audiologists at the Audiology center. After an audiogram is obtain, the audiologist will be able to let you know if you qualify for a consultation. The consultation consists of going over the results of your hearing evaluation, going over the parts of the hearing system and an in office trial of the device on a soft band headband. It will also be recommended that you make an appointment with our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor to go over the surgical aspect of the device as well as schedule any other appointments that are required prior to surgery.

Additional Resources

 


Cochlear Implant

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is a medical device that is surgically implanted to replace the function of the cochlea, which is housed in the inner ear. Cochlear implants are used when hearing aids cannot provide sufficient benefit to the patient. For example, hearing aids are used to amplify sounds that are otherwise inaudible to a person with hearing loss. However, if a person has severe to profound hearing loss, there is a chance that sounds will become so distorted with amplification that the person is unable to understand speech, even with hearing aids. In this scenario, it is possible that the person is a cochlear implant candidate.

A cochlear implant is comprised of two main parts: the internal component and the external sound processor. The internal component consists of an electrode wire and a magnet, which are surgically implanted by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon. The external processor is worn on the outside, which consists of another magnet and a speech processor. The speech processor picks up sound waves and sends the signal to the internal component via the two magnets. The electrode array (housed within the cochlea) then sends the signal to the auditory nerve. This mechanism allows the implanted device to bypass the damaged cochlea and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.

After surgery, the patient returns to the Audiology Center four weeks later for their initial activation appointment. At this appointment their audiologist will program and activate (or turn on) the cochlear implant for the first time. The patient will return for several follow up appointments after the initial activation appointment. Between appointments the patient will continue to practice with their implant using rehabilitation exercises at home in order to optimize benefit from the cochlear implant system. These will be provided by the audiologist and can include exercises completed online or in person such as reading a children’s book aloud to oneself or by a family member. The rehabilitation process is crucial to the success of a patient’s cochlear implant journey.

Patient Resource

Cochlear America Reimbursement Line: 800-633-4667